At least 9 Chinese warships had passed Sibutu Strait without the Philippine government’s permission according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Wednesday.
Locsin said that Beijing agreed with the Philippines that it would ask permission first before their warships could pass through the Philippine waters.
The incident angered President Duterte who demanded China first to seek permission, Locsin said.
According to Locsin, the Chinese warships’ passage brought to issues. First was the ships seemed to be “going around in circles” and second, the warships shut off their tracking device.
Locsin said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart, “Duterte said, he was really angry, he said: ‘They must ask permission before going through our waters.'”
“And then China answered: ‘Of course, next time we will ask permission.”
China explained why China warships stayed longer in PH waters
China, Locsin said, claimed that a storm forced their warships to remain longer in Philippine waters. “We can check if there was a storm of sufficient force that it forced the ships to stay,” Locsin said.
The Foreign Affairs secretary also questioned China’s move to shut off their ships’ tracking devices. He said this was meant to hide the ships’ movements from Philippine authorities.
“I thought we were friends. Now, I don’t know if the Americans are our friends, but you said you are our friends. All I am asking is permission. On top of this, China also demands permission for vessels passing through. Now we are in agreement,” Locsin added.